Fall football season is a time when many young people attend homecoming and other games with their friends. Unfortunately, many teenagers choose to drink at these events. Winter dances and holiday parties are another time of the year when young people may feel pressured to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel.
An Atlanta car accident lawyer knows that teenagers are the age group with the highest rate of motor vehicle collisions and that car accidents are a leading cause of death among teenagers. Preventing teens from getting in the car drunk during fall and the upcoming holidays could help to save lives. Parents should be aware that one of the biggest influences on whether their kids choose to drive drunk is who their children’s friends are.
Peer Pressure and the Risk of Teen Drunk Driving
A study that was published on the website of the National Institute of Health (NIH) reveals that teenagers are very susceptible to peer pressure when in their vehicles. According to the study:
- Teens who have friends or peers in their car with them are focused on peer approval and their driving safety is compromised. There is a significant risk of a motor vehicle collision among teens who have friends in the car with them, and there is no such comparable risk among adults driving with others.
- While less popular teenagers are generally very susceptible to peer pressure, more popular adolescents are at the greatest risk of consuming alcohol when underage as a result of pressure on this specific issue from their peer group.
- A teen whose peer group disapproves of impaired driving is significantly less likely to consume alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving recognizes the influence that a teen’s peer group can have and aims to use positive peer pressure to help encourage kids to drive sober. MADD has a Power of You(th) program that provides facts to young people. For example, according to surveys published by MADD, only 30 percent of teens responding to one survey indicated that they had consumed alcohol in the prior month and only 20 percent of teens said that they had engaged in behavior classified as binge drinking. Many young people might assume that a larger number of other teens drink.
As a part of the Power of You(th) program, MADD also has chosen national teen influencers. These are young people who have felt the effects of impaired driving on their own lives or who have been leaders in local clubs and organizations that fight against impaired driving. The influencers will attend and participate in MADD events to help convince young people that drinking and driving is never OK.
Parents need to know that a child’s peer group has a profound impact on his or her behavior behind the wheel. This football and holiday season, parents should be sure that they know who their children are with when they go to dances and other events. By talking to your kids and getting to know their friends, you can determine if your child’s peer group is a positive influence or is a group of kids at risk of getting into an impaired driving accident.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury in a motor vehicle crash. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.